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Course details

Study options

Part-time: 2 years

UK fee

£875 per 20 credits* (2020/21)

Course level



PG Dip

Start dates

January, September


Derby Campus

Course description

The Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management is ideal both for specialist HR practitioners and for general managers who would like to improve their portfolio of skills. Approved by the CIPD, it offers a thorough and highly relevant learning programme which you can customise to meet your specific career needs.


Deliver genuine business impact

Our course explores people management practices and policies, with a strong emphasis on how they help organisations achieve improved performance.

We set the HRM specialism firmly within the broader field of business, management and corporate strategy. You’ll gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of organisations, how they are managed and the external challenges they face.

We draw on latest thinking, pioneering research and fascinating case studies, including looking at HRM in an international context. 

Professional credibility

This course is your stepping stone towards Chartered Membership of the CIPD, a major advantage if you want to raise your professional profile and improve your career prospects.

From the start of the course you will join the CIPD so that you have full access to restricted member information sources on its website and to local branch network events which will support your studies.

Once you complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management, you will gain Associate status of the CIPD and the Institute will recognise that you’ve fully satisfied the knowledge criteria for Chartered status.

Real-world learning in action

All your assignments and reports reflect real-world scenarios and are usually based on your own workplace practice and experiences. By investigating current business issues from a HRM perspective, you can add substantial value to your organisation as you work towards your qualifications.

Our students choose to undertake projects which are directly relevant to their role and the needs of their employer. These have covered everything from employee engagement to organisational change, talent management to the evaluation of training. You’ll gain new perspectives and insights into the HR role, along with ideas which you can take back to your own workplace. 

Build your networks

Figures from the profession will share their knowledge with you. You’ll be invited to masterclasses and guest lectures delivered by influential thinkers. Such as our Visiting Professors in HRM, Dr Linda Holbeche and Professor Lynette Harris we also run ‘expert witness’ sessions where you can question senior HR managers about their careers.

We work closely with the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire branch of the CIPD which boasts 3,000 plus members. They hold events at the University where you can make new contacts in a professional forum. You’ll hear first-hand what happens at the sharp end of the HR business across many different organisational cultures – from the challenges of identifying talent to how it feels to attend a tribunal.

Chart your career direction

Our Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management is for professionals who want to look realistically and confidently towards the higher levels of HR management. Career development planning is at the heart of the course and you will be fully prepared to meet the continuing professional development (CPD) requirements of your profession.

From the outset, you will reflect on your experience, practice, ambitions and skills gaps to create a clear route to future success. You will be allocated a personal tutor with strong HR experience who will help you develop your critical self-analysis skills and build your professional identity.

We encourage you to look ahead to your next career steps, including the opportunity to ‘top up’ your qualification to the MSc Human Resource Management in one further year of part-time study.

A dynamic learning community

You will be inspired by our expert lecturers with wide-ranging experience of HRM. They have designed the course to be intellectually challenging but offer support and guidance all the way to help you excel.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management attracts a diverse mix of students – established and aspiring HR practitioners from different age groups and from different roles across the public, private and charitable sectors.

Our student surveys regularly record high levels of satisfaction with the course. Students said they had gained greater confidence in their abilities and excellent support from an approachable and helpful team.

What you will study

Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management is made up of two stages – Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma.

You’ll be introduced to the study of HR and gain an understanding of concepts, ideas and competences relating to vocational aspects of the discipline.

You’ll study modules such as:

  • Leading, Managing and Developing People. You’ll evaluate major contemporary research and debates in HRM, including how HR practices influence business outcomes and how the value of the HR function can be measured. Covering issues of leadership, professionalism and ethics, this module looks at HRM developments in different sectors and different forms of organisations and enterprises. You’ll consider themes such as change management, flexible working initiatives, motivation and engagement within the workplace, the importance of the line manager role and the increasing emphasis on team working within organisations.
  • Employment Law. As HR professionals are expected to be confident and capable in dealing with a range of legal issues, this module focuses on the practical application and implications of employment law. You’ll develop your skills in giving accurate and timely advice, anticipating legal problems before decisions are implemented, and helping to manage your organisation’s response when a dispute arises. You’ll also keep abreast of new developments in the law to ensure your organisation is prepared.
  • Developing Professional Practice. This module equips you with a set of analytical tools and techniques to enhance your professional development, personal effectiveness and credibility at work. With a strong focus on how to add business value to your organisation, it covers areas such as leadership, critical thinking and decision-making, managing financial information and budgets, team working and interpersonal skills, resolving conflicts, influencing and coaching.

You’ll build on the foundation of knowledge you gained at the Postgraduate Certificate stage by studying these modules:

  • Human Resource Management in an International Context. This module will deepen your understanding of the external, internal, business and managerial contexts of different organisations, including the impact of internationalisation and globalisation. You’ll explore the constraints within which HR practitioners work and how they make appropriate choices aligned with the objectives of their organisation.
  • Strategic Talent Development. The growth of human capital has been identified as a key driver of competitive advantage for organisations. On this module, you’ll examine a range of talent management strategies to attract, identify, develop, engage, retain and deploy individuals with high potential. You’ll look at how talent can be fostered through learning and development interventions and how to evaluate the impact of such interventions on the ‘bottom line’.
  • Investigating a Business Issue from a HRM Perspective. As a professional manager, you need to research relevant topics and write reports to persuade key stakeholders to change or adopt a particular policy or practice. On this module, you’ll diagnose and investigate a complex business issue, locate your work within the body of contemporary knowledge, collect and analyse data, derive supportable conclusions, and make practical recommendations for change and improvement. 

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

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Postgraduate Live Online Events

While we’re not able to welcome you in person to our campuses at the moment, we’re not going to let that stop us showing you all the great things about studying at Derby.

We’re currently planning our autumn Open Events to bring you the best possible online and on-campus experience.

Book your Live Online EventBook your Live Online Event

How you will learn

You will develop your knowledge through taught lectures, case studies, role play, debating, student presentations – both formative and summative – enquiry-based learning, and problem-solving activities. At every stage of the programme you are encouraged to apply your learning to work-based scenarios so that you can make an immediate business impact. We will challenge your ways of thinking and behaving as you seek solutions to complex business problems.

We will also encourage your commitment to lifelong learning and personal growth and help you develop a reflective, self-aware and self-critical approach. The course builds your ability to present and justify intellectually rigorous arguments.

Throughout you will develop and continuously improve skills which will serve you well in your future career: leadership, team working, partnership, networking and communication.

This programme is approved by by the CIPD therefore any changes to their Professional Standards and programmes will be reflected in our programmes as appropriate.

Lecture times

Classes for both the Certificate and Diploma stage take place on Thursdays 2-7pm (please note: the finishing time may vary between tutors and the sessions that are running) 

How you are assessed

Each module is assessed by a coursework component. This can take a number of different formats, including a report and a portfolio. Additionally, three of the modules carry a formal exam-based component: two exams in year one and one exam in year two.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees (August 2020 - July 2021)



£875 per 20 credits*




*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

How to apply

UK students

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University


For anyone aspiring to – or already in – a HR role, our Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management proves invaluable for career development, progression and professional status. As people are a vital component of any organisation, it also delivers an advantage if you are entering or considering a more general management role.

Our graduates now work across the world in HR management and director positions in public, private and not-for-profit organisations, including Boots, the NHS, Rolls-Royce, Toyota and local authorities. On completing this course, the majority of our students go on to gain promotions or secure more senior roles in other organisations.

Wherever your career takes you, we equip you with the critical self-analysis and reflective practice skills which will have a lasting impact on your success. They will underpin your career development planning, support your lifelong learning and encourage your personal growth and development.

Gaining a postgraduate degree can significantly boost your earning potential. Latest government statistics* show that postgraduates earn on average £6,000 more per year than graduates.

*Graduate Labour Market Statistics 2015, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

CIPD membership

CIPD membership is highly sought after by employers looking to recruit to HR positions and our course prepares you to meet the continuing professional development (CPD) requirements of the profession.

On successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management you will have completed the knowledge criteria requirements for Advanced CIPD membership and you will automatically gain Associate status of the CIPD.

When you can also demonstrate evidence of the necessary activity and behaviour criteria, you will be ready to apply for Chartered Membership status. This can advance your career further still – opening doors to promotion, a higher salary and an increased range of job opportunities.

During your Diploma studies, we’ll give you help and guidance to make your online application for the appropriate CIPD membership level.

Take your studies to the next level

You can top up your Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management to the MSc Human Resource Management with just one more year of part-time study. This enables you to undertake an independent study on a specialist theme that particularly interests you or that brings significant benefits to your current role and organisation.

Ongoing careers support

Throughout your studies, you will benefit from our Personal Development Planning (PDP) scheme which enables you to reflect on your learning and refine your career ambitions.

Our support continues once you’ve completed your course too: you are entitled to further help and guidance from the Careers and Employment Service for up to three years after leaving the University.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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